April 1, 2002
TALLAHSSEE, Fla. –
The 11th-ranked Seminole soccer team will look to capture the magic from the program’s breakout campaign in 2000 next year against a schedule that is extremely similar to the one they faced two seasons ago. The 2002 schedule features 15 teams that FSU played in 2000 on their way to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and eight teams that were in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. The schedule features Final Four participants North Carolina and Florida, a member of the Elite Eight in Virginia and Sweet 16 entrant Clemson. Other NCAA Tournament opponents include UCF, Duke, Wake Forest and Maryland.
Just as they did in 2000, FSU will face Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Clemson and Wake Forest at home. The last time Florida and North Carolina traveled to Tallahassee, the Seminoles recorded two of the most important wins in program history. The schedule also features 10 other home matches, which should benefit a Florida State team that hasn’t lost a game at home since November of 2000. It has also been 18 games since FSU lost at home to a non-conference opponent, a streak that dates back to 1999.
“We are excited about the opportunities that lie in front of us for 2002,” said head coach Patrick Baker. “It is not going to be easy but we are happy to have 12 home games considering we were undefeated at the Seminole Soccer Complex last season. We have also gone 17-2 at home over the last two seasons with wins over a number of very good teams. Playing those tough games at home will be nice. It is going to be an exciting year all the way around.”
The two largest crowds in FSU history came when the Tar Heels and Gators came to town in 2000 drawing 1,582 and 1,282 fans respectively. The Seminoles burst onto the national scene with a season-opening home win versus the sixth-ranked Gators and then really opened the nation’s eyes with a 3-2 overtime win over the defending national champion Heels at the Seminole Soccer Complex later that season. Overall, five of the top 10 all-time home attendance records were established during the 2000 season.
“The games versus UNC and Florida are great games no matter what the venue but the last time those two teams came to Tallahassee it represented two of the biggest nights in our program’s history,” said Baker. “We play with a great deal of confidence at home and what happened in 2000 will just serve to really raise the excitement level for those matches.”
The season gets under way with back-to-back home tournaments. The Seminoles will host Wake Forest, Oregon and Oregon State at the Florida State/Nike Invitational to kick things off August 30. Florida State defeated both Oregon and Oregon State on the road in 2000 as those two squads reciprocate with a return trip to the Sunshine State this season. Florida State then hosts Missouri. LSU and Miami at the Seminole Soccer Tournament September 6-8. The match-up between LSU and FSU will be the first in program history while the Seminoles and Tigers see each other for the first time since Missouri downed the Seminoles at their home field in 2000.
“We are excited to hosting two tournaments this season,” said Baker. “We open the season with the Florida State/Nike Invitational where we will play Oregon and Oregon State and Wake Forest will also be here. That will be one of the nation’s better tournaments. We then host another tournament the next week with Miami, Missouri and LSU. That stretches across four power conferences in the ACC, SEC, BIG EAST and Big 12.”
After Miami travels to Tallahassee for the Seminole Soccer Tournament, where the two teams don’t actually face one another, FSU heads to South Florida to play the Hurricanes. After the Wednesday night meeting with the Canes, FSU will stay in town to take part in the University of Miami Tournament where they will face Virginia Tech and UNC Charlotte.
The Seminoles open conference play September 20 at home against Clemson. It will be the second year in a row that the Seminoles have opened ACC play against the Tigers. Florida State then gets three straight home games versus in-state rivals as South Florida, Florida and UCF head to the Seminole Soccer Complex. The September 27 game against the Gators will be played on a Friday evening just as it was to kick-off the 2000 campaign.
Conference play heats up in October as FSU plays six of its last eight regular season games against ACC opponents. After an October 8 trip to Duke, the Seminoles welcome Wake Forest and North Carolina in back-to-back home games in the span of five days. The Demon Deacons will be in town Friday, October 11 and the Tar Heels make their return trip to the Seminole Soccer Complex Tuesday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m.
The Garnet and Gold will travel to Raleigh for a meeting with NC State October 19 before returning home to face Jacksonville October 22. The Seminoles then play back-to-back road games for just the second time all season when they travel to Maryland and George Mason to end the month.
“The nice thing about the schedule is that we only have four road trips,” said Baker. “We combine our trip to Miami with a tournament and then we will also face George Mason the same week we travel to Maryland. That is a big change from the nine road trips we had last year which doesn’t include the ACC’s and NCAA’s.”
Florida State closes out its regular season at home with a key conference battle versus Virginia November 2. The Seminoles will then play in the ACC Championships, which are tentatively scheduled to be held in Tallahassee for the first time in conference history.
“Conference will be tough as always but the benefit in even years is that we get four of those games at home,” said Baker. “The rotation works in our favor this year. On top of North Carolina, we have Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest here and those have been wonderful series the last two years home and away. Whether we like it or not, Clemson is becoming a much bigger rival due to our regular season meetings and the fact we have played them in both of our trips to the NCAA Tournament. Then we played an epic battle with Virginia in the ACC semifinals last season where we advanced past them to the championship after four overtimes and a shootout. So those will be fantastic games.”
For the complete 2002 schedule and more information on Florida State soccer, please visit the official athletic website of Florida State university at www.seminoles.com.